Focus
rating: +10+x

Does self-sacrifice count as suicide?

It had been a fun thought experiment, that night at the bar. Richardson and Donnegal taking turns seeing who could speak over the other the loudest, while you sipped your Maker's Mark in bemused observation. You can't remember who won that arguement — if anyone ever really 'wins' an argument at a bar.

Guess it doesn't really matter, now.

You try and put the image of Richardson, newly cleaved in two and deposited artistically on either side of the door to their office, out of your head.

Focus.

Easier thought than done.

Luckily, your muscle memory knows the layout of this site, even though the room you're heading to isn't one you've been in since orientation, the day you were promoted. Just last year, ten months ago to be precise.

Feels like a lifetime.

Focus.

Focus on the current task. Not on the body you just had to step over. Just keep running.

Past Skidmore's office, thankfully empty. They hadn't come in today. Good. They're too beautiful to die this young. Guess that "let's grab a drink sometime" isn't going to pan out after all.

Do you think they'll remember you, think of you? Part of you hopes not, for their sake.

But part of you hopes so.

Focus.

Try not to think about Skidmore. Or any of your peers, most of whom are behind you, that thing having taken artistic license with their internal organ arrangement.

Nothing you can do for them, now. Can't even blame whoever it was that caused this mess. They probably went first. Why didn't it get you?

That's not useful. Don't waste time thinking about yourself. You're not gonna survive long enough to deal with survivor's guilt anyhow. Don't focus on you. Don't focus on the ones behind you. You can't help them, and you can't help yourself.

Focus.

Focus on the people you can help. The people outside. They can be saved from this. They will be saved from this.

Focus on that door at the end of the hall. The one you never thought you'd have to use.

Don't think about the dismembered… whatever bodypart you just stepped on. They're not using it anymore. Should've worn boots today — you're never gonna get the blood out of these shoes.

Never. There's a lot of things you're Never. Marriage. Kids. White picket fences and rocking chairs. That trip to Istanbul. They're all Nevers now.

Well, you always could turn right. Towards the doors. Towards the outside. Skidmore's still out there. You could still grab that drink. Find out if they've ever been to Istanbul.

Maybe build that picket fence.

But then it would follow.

A moment's hesitation. A fumble for your keycard.

Swipe. Beep. Latch.

They can see Istanbul without you.

The lights come on, but they're hardly necessary. The button is lit up like a Senator's nose at a prayer breakfast.

You can't help but laugh. Of course it's actually a big, red button.

The word "ARMED" lit up in green beneath it. Always armed.

You'd heard of some sites where they didn't bother. Not this one.

Not with things like it in the subbasements below.

A glimmer of a thought. What if it had found the door?

No, wait. Remember the file. Afraid of sunlight.

Check your watch. 2:24pm. Thank whoever for small victories.

At least it will go with you to whatever Next is.

Probably not Istanbul.

This is for other people's picket fences. Other people's rocking chairs.

Focus on them.

Focus on the reason you took this job to begin with.

To Secure, yes. To Contain, surely.

To Protect.

A button pressed.

A reassuring beep.

A deafening silence.

Does self-sacrifice count as suicide?

You spend the rest of your life wondering.

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